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Human Experimentation at the Heart of Bush Administration's Torture Program

 
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 08:08 am
This report is pretty condemning to the Bush Administration and their involvement of severe war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is not something that should be pushed under the rug and overlooked because it happened in the past, and we must look forward.

t r u t h o u t | Human Experimentation at the Heart of Bush Administration's Torture Program

Quote:
The findings contained in the 27-page report, "Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Evidence of Experimentation in the 'Enhanced' Interrogation Program," is based on extensive research of previously declassified government documents that shows the crucial role medical personnel played in in establishing and justifying the legality of the Bush administration's torture program.

The report said the research and experimentation of detainees its authors have documented is not only a violation of the Geneva Conventions, but is a grave breach of international laws, such as the Nuremberg Code, established after atrocities committed by Nazis were exposed in the aftermath of World War II.

"Health professionals working for and on behalf of the CIA monitored the interrogations of detainees, collected and analyzed the results of [the] interrogations, and sought to derive generalizable inferences to be applied to subsequent interrogations," states an executive summary of the report, prepared by Physicians for Human Rights. "Such acts may be seen as the conduct of research and experimentation by health professionals on prisoners, which could violate accepted standards of medical ethics, as well as domestic and international law. These practices could, in some cases, constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity."
 
Jebediah
 
  2  
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 09:49 am
@Theaetetus,
I find it confusing.

The had health professionals monitoring the interrogation of the detainees...which I assume means they watched them being interrogated, or that they were on hand to provide medical assistance.

They collected and analyzed data.

Well, that isn't experimentation. It is research. But I don't think it's clear that the bush administration was interrogating prisoners for the purpose of research. So I don't see what the problem is with the health professionals. If interrogation is being done, it's effectiveness ought to be monitored--you might find that it isn't effective for example.

I only read the part you quoted though.
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:00 pm
@Theaetetus,
Hi Theaetetus,

I read a little then an error shut me out (old pc), but there is no doubt that torture is a study in progress. The fact that there were medical staff present doesn't surprise me either (easy cop-out for the govt), and, ultimately there is little that anyone can do to stop these atrocious acts, let alone bring the torturemongers to justice. This is not a defeatist outlook I vent, but an observation. I think the whole world knows what's going on at the top of the pyramid, but, I doubt many care to intervene.
If you wanna get a posse together and march them all out of town though, give me a shout, and a horse, riding lessons and the like.

Thank you, Theaetetus - Good post, and have a fantastic day, sir.

Mark...
xris
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 02:41 pm
@mark noble,
The torture you talk of is nothing new, it has been used since the Chinese and the north Koreans used it on us. We had to endure it, in training, to a certain degree, to experience the panic it inflicts. There are better and more humane methods so why its used, is beyond me. Isolation ,sleep deprivation, misinformation are much more painful.
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 03:15 pm
@xris,
xris;174345 wrote:
The torture you talk of is nothing new, it has been used since the Chinese and the north Koreans used it on us. We had to endure it, in training, to a certain degree, to experience the panic it inflicts. There are better and more humane methods so why its used, is beyond me. Isolation ,sleep deprivation, misinformation are much more painful.


Hi Xris,

Just give them an hour watching any of the soaps on british tv, that'll make them squirm. Or is that a little too harsh, do you think?

Have a good one Xris.

Mark...
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 11:36 am
@mark noble,
Well, you should probably read this paper by Physicians for Human Rights.
http://phrtorturepapers.org/?dl_id=9

These subjects did not have medical staff on hand for their well-being, but rather for observational data so that the individuals involved in torturing of others and government could make use of a "Good Faith" argument in legal torture cases. But of course, that was not likely the main reason for the experimentation. Apparently, there is not much scientific data on torture, and officials wanted to find ways to calibrate pain and suffering.
Pangloss
 
  4  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 12:02 pm
@Theaetetus,
There's no such thing as "legal torture", going by the treaties that typically make up the basis of what is called international law. Torture is always a war crime. The Bush administration's great defense is quite simple, though absolutely transparent; they just say that what they're doing is not torture, though it is. And they've got the right judges (so does Obama) to agree with them. They won't ever admit to torture, and they can't exactly build any legal case for it, because it's a de facto violation of the Nuremberg and Geneva protocols.
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 06:18 pm
@Pangloss,
I know that there is no such thing as legal torture. But what the report is doing is mounting more credible evidence against not only that the U.S. tortured captives (which everyone knows), but that Bush administration was trying to find a way to quantitatively prove that what they were doing was not torture. They were trying to come up with a scale to define the limits of a euphemism "enhanced interrogation," and torture. See this is enhanced interrogation. And now this is torture. How do we know? Here is all the scientific data and analysis.

Of course, torture is torture. But unfortunately, it seems that laws are not always laws. Too many people in the "right" places, unfortunately renders many laws as useless.

Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 06:44 pm
@Theaetetus,
Well, as far as international law goes, there's really nothing more needed as evidence, since the White House admitted to waterboarding prisoners. That right there is torture, and they've admitted to it. The issue is getting some international court of law to prosecute the US govt. for crimes of war. But we all know that, even if this were to happen, and the US were found guilty of war crimes, any punishment levied against the government would not be enforced.

For prosecution attempt, see:

http://www.bushtothehague.org/about/

International law is, unfortunately just a case of might=right, or a Thrasymachian form of justice. It's only enforced when the big powers use it against the little powers.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 06:54 pm
@Theaetetus,
Been wondering if anyone here would pick this up.

Great to see this material examined and exposed.

Given the torture outsourced on the US' behalf via its ordinary "extraordinary rendition" program, and the previous work done in countries like Germany and Japan (just to name two) on prisoners around torture you'd think there'd not be a lot left to learn.

Seems they had no trouble getting doctors to participate in this stuff, either.

Humans appear to suck.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 06:56 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah wrote:

I find it confusing.

The had health professionals monitoring the interrogation of the detainees...which I assume means they watched them being interrogated, or that they were on hand to provide medical assistance.

They collected and analyzed data.

Well, that isn't experimentation. It is research. But I don't think it's clear that the bush administration was interrogating prisoners for the purpose of research. So I don't see what the problem is with the health professionals. If interrogation is being done, it's effectiveness ought to be monitored--you might find that it isn't effective for example.

I only read the part you quoted though.


Well, the ethics codes of professions like medicine etc generally forbid them from assisting with torture.

Then there's stuff like law, and the international treaties countries sign which suggest that the events shouldn't be happening anyway.

0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 07:01 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:

The torture you talk of is nothing new, it has been used since the Chinese and the north Koreans used it on us. We had to endure it, in training, to a certain degree, to experience the panic it inflicts. There are better and more humane methods so why its used, is beyond me. Isolation ,sleep deprivation, misinformation are much more painful.


It began millenia before that, (and was long regarded as a perfectly reasonable part of legal process, too) but I don't see that as a reason not to continue to make it harder and harder for regimes to do this stuff.

Outing the Bush and other administrations administration and continuing to gather evidence and shouting it to the rooftops seems to me a good thing to do in an ongoing way.

At least they try to keep it more secret these days, and pretend it's not torture.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 02:38 am
@dlowan,
That particular torture..water boarding, originated with the chinese in Korea. Other more crude methods were used before then.

Torture is it ever valid? we must consider the extreme and then ask what do we consider torture. Isolation and sleep deprivation, is that torture?.Stress positioning , light and sound intrusion? Misinformation? the list goes on..Would you torture a man who held your daughter in prison and would not tell you of her location?
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 10:06 am
@xris,
xris wrote:

Isolation and sleep deprivation, is that torture?.Stress positioning , light and sound intrusion?


Certainly it is. Mental anguish can be far more tortuous than physical pain. Stick someone in a lock box for a week with no light, no sound, no food, no toilet, and not enough room to even stand up or lie down, and they will be begging for mercy.

Quote:
Would you torture a man who held your daughter in prison and would not tell you of her location?


Yea, probably I would, but that still doesn't make it right. It's also very different from a state policy of torture, which is very prone to abuse, as we have seen in the last few years (abu ghraib, etc.) Not to mention, the torture of prisoners of war has already been established as illegal, so it's a violation of international law.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 10:30 am
@Pangloss,
If you agree torture could be used, you then set a precedent. The question of ,if its right, then depends on the greater good being considered. Its a bit like war , you can disagree on its individual application but you cant discount it for every eventuality. Like the Geneva convention, rules need to be applied. One bad application does not make it inappropriate for all occassions. I know it has saved countless innocent lives. The moral dilemma is one of practicality not the perfect condition we would love to exist. If it does not inflict long term mental or physical damage it should be applied in the most desperate of times, in my opinion.
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 10:56 am
@xris,
I just said that perhaps I would use it if my own daughter's life were at stake...but just because I would (maybe, but this is hypothetical) do it, doesn't make it morally right, or legal.

What we've seen with Iraq war torture policies is that many prisoners were tortured and abused, pretty much for no good reason. That any lives were saved by hooking up people's testicles to electrodes and shocking them, while simulating sex acts with them in front of a camera, remains to be seen. And I hardly think one could experience that WITHOUT suffering long term mental or physical damage.
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 11:14 am
Anyone here at all pissed the the Obama administration has continued with the Bush program? I know I am. One of the most disapointing things he's failed to do since being elected.
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 11:26 am
@maporsche,
Not really pissed, much less surprised; since Obama's inauguration, atrocities have remained the same, or escalated. The CIA assassination program has been stepped up, torture is ongoing, and the war in Afghanistan is also heating up. Oh...and that Iraq "withdrawal"...whatever happened to that? Obama's supreme court justice, Sotomayor, basically stated in a lecture that she supports the "extraordinary rendition" policies that have been in place since 2001.

Just business as usual.
0 Replies
 
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 11:27 am
@Pangloss,
I'm not condoning these actions but these actions should not decide our ethical response to torture in general. That train is still hurtling down the track awaiting your reasoning.
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 11:36 am
@xris,
Those actions show what can happen when you have an official policy that allows the torture of prisoners of war. As far as I see it, prisoner abuse and torture are the same thing, and what happened at Abu Ghraib is pretty much par for the course when you have a torture/abuse policy.

The US military still heavily emphasizes a sort of honor code when dealing with war in general, and this code is supposed to extend to enemy combatants. According to international law, captured/surrendering combatants must be treated humanely, not tortured. When the US and other countries signed these treaties, there was a legal declaration made there as to the ethics of certain activities, like torture, that were specifically outlawed. I don't see how one could simultaneously support human rights and support the use of a torture policy without being a hypocrite...torture is, by definition, a violation of human rights.
 

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